A lot of effort goes into creating the perfect bottle of wine. Before it even reaches your shopping trolley, there needs to be the perfect grape, picking technique, climate and bottling.
But what do you do when it does finally reach your house? If it lasts long enough to be stored for a while, then the way in which you do this could have a big impact on the taste.
So how can you make a difference? Here is why a dedicated wine cooler can help:
How To Best Store Your Wine
The ideal setting is between 10 and 14°C, no matter what type it is. If it is an ageing wine, then exactly midway is where it will flourish. Try to keep this constant, until just before serving where you may want it to adapt.
Wine fridges usually have a generous temperature range to choose from, and the temperature can be kept more consistent than in your regular food fridge which will likely be far too cold. You shouldn’t store your drink at the same temperature as your milk.
Keep It Still
Unlike your favourite cocktail, shaking wine isn’t recommended. You may think that is pretty obvious and isn’t a problem unless you live in a noisy environment, but have you ever thought about whether where you store it vibrates?
You can purchase a chiller which has wooden shelves (to absorb more movement than metal ones), and the quieter it is, the less slight vibrations it will make.
If your bottle is corked, it can absorb any surrounding odours. And in ordinary fridges, there are tonnes, from your favourite cheese to stored leftovers.
Wine coolers generally have very good ventilation systems, and you can easily keep the food resigned to your fridge freezer.
Sunlight doesn’t only affect temperature, but also UV levels. It boosts the ageing process, which is great before the grapes have reached the bottle. After this, wine is at risk of degrading. This is why most come in coloured bottles – they act like sunglasses, but only to a certain extent.
There are plenty of wine coolers available with solid doors but if you prefer to have your collection on show (one of the perks of a dedicated fridge, right?), then make sure it has UV protection.
Corks can dry out when humidity is low, so more air gets into the bottle. This can make your wine incredibly sour. It is unlikely to be the biggest problem you face with wine storage, but wine fridges can keep the humidity between the ideal 50-80% marker without you doing any extra work.
Related to humidity and keeping the cork dry is storing the bottles horizontally. This helps the liquid touch the cork and keep it moist.
If the bottle is screw top or has a plastic cork, then it isn’t necessary, but helps for easy access, which is why most are designed in this way.
Don’t Store It For Too Long
Only a small percentage of wines are actually made with the intention of ageing for several years. Wine coolers are a great way to keep them at their best if you’ve bought several bottles in bulk to make the most of a supermarket offer but new world, inexpensive wines generally won’t mature. Red wine can be kept for 2-10 years, and white should be a maximum of three years.
Now you know how a wine fridge is beneficial, all you need to think about is how many bottles you’ll want to store at any one time. Our top picks store anywhere between 15 and 144, which should suit absolutely everybody! Don’t forget the wine opener, though.